In Response to Casey Push for Utilities Investigation, PUC Releases Steps Taken in Wake of Outages

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today met with members of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to evaluate steps taken to prevent extended power outages like those that resulted from a late October snowstorm.

“I am gratified that in response to my concerns, the Public Utility Commission has made some progress in identifying the problems that led to extended power outages in the state,” said Senator Casey. “By learning from these problems, electric companies and PUC can work to prevent such extensive outages in the future.”

Senator Casey called on PUC to investigate the factors contributing to outages that lasted for more than a week in a letter last month. The October snowstorm came on the heels of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, which also caused extensive outages in the state.

PUC today released a summary of actions taken related to the long-term outages, including:

  • Directed electric distribution companies to provide detailed information on outages over the past six months, including correcting actions regarding the circuits that experienced outages of over 24 hours
  • Met with all affected utilities for post-storm assessment
  • Participated in emergency planning drills and tabletop exercises
  • Finalized policy statement on best practices that electric utilities should utilize to ensure effective communication during service outages, including the use of social media and new technology to keep customers informed
  • Requested and received information from all electric distribution companies (EDCs) on historic weather information and customer call center/interactive voice response system improvement plans.